Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathleen Lynch


Principals need to possess leadership skills and behaviors that help set expectations for collaborative work. The problem in this case study was that little was known about the collaboration-building behaviors principals use that promote effective collaboration between members of the school community. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and describe the behaviors principals exhibit when building collaboration through the implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). The conceptual framework was based on 3 elements: leadership styles and approaches, collaboration, and the implementation of effective PLCs. The primary research question explored how principal behaviors contribute to collaborative professional learning communities. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 6 elementary principals from a Mid-Atlantic State. Data were collected through semistructured interviews and document review of PLC structures. Data were coded using a Microsoft Word Doc Data Extract tool and analyzed for themes using an inductive process. Emergent themes for building collaboration were identified as leadership traits, vision, time, collaborative structures, culture, and the need for professional learning. Results suggest that shared leadership, vision, collective learning, and supportive conditions influence the effective development of PLCs. As a result, professional learning opportunities are recommended for school leaders on strategies that successfully develop supportive and collaborative structures in schools. Implications for social change are that PLCs may strengthen professional practice in classrooms, schools, districts, and communities.